Dismiss Notice
Hello, is it beer you're looking for?

Learn more about beer. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for as low as 68% off the single issue price.

Subscribe now →

Heavy Seas - Winter Storm ("Category 5" Ale) - Heavy Seas Beer

Not Rated.
Heavy Seas - Winter Storm ("Category 5" Ale)
No picture.
Have one? Upload it now.
very good

504 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 504
Hads: 921
Avg: 3.83
pDev: 16.45%
Wants: 32
Gots: 69 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Heavy Seas Beer visit their website
Maryland, United States

Style | ABV
Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB) |  7.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: pezoids on 02-17-2004

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Heavy Seas - Winter Storm ("Category 5" Ale) Alström Bros
Reviews: 504 | Hads: 921
Photo of billab914
3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Dogfish shaped pint glass. It poured a dark amber, almost mahogany like color. The head started off full and frothy and lasted pretty well into drinking the beer. Some nice lacing was left as I drank it as well.

The aroma shows a good amount of caramel and malty flavors to it. An herbal hoppiness is there as well and adds some spicy notes to the aroma. Pretty nice balance to all the flavors going on in it.

The taste has a pretty big malty base to the beer with some caramel coming through in the sweetness. The hops add an earthy spice and some herbal qualities to it. The hops give it a nice spice on their own without having to actually add the "winter" spices so many others versions have.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with moderate carbonation. drinkability is decent, it was a nicely flavored winter seasonal. It was malty, hoppy and spicy and worked all of those flavors together nicely. Nice beer for the style and season.

 974 characters

Photo of woodychandler
4.8/5  rDev +25.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Back on The Bottle Beat, thanks to my regular trade buddy, tone77.

I was impressed by the two rocky fingers of light-tan head that I got off of my pour. Not only was it markedly different than the fizzy head that I usually see from AmeriCAN Adjunct Lagers, but its retention was fabulous. Color was a deep coppery-amber with ruby highlights and NE-quality clarity. Nose was initially big with malt, but there was also a good bit of piney hops in the mix. Yum! Mouthfeel was medium with a wild juxtaposition of caramel sweetness and pine hops on the tongue. Dang, but this was really good and wayyyy too smooth. I could see putting a couple of these away before I even knew what had happened. Finish was more hoppy than malty, but it was the interplay between the two that really made this a unique beer. I really should not pooh-pooh bottled beers the way that I had been. I would drink this pretty routinely during the winter.

 929 characters

Photo of Gavage
3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: pours a dark amber color with a nice 2" fluffy head with a few big bubbles. Mild lacing develops through the drink.

Smell: easily detectable floral hops and citrus.

Taste: the malt level is quite up front, as caramel and roasted tones are strong but nicely balanced with grapefruits and an average bitterness which does not overwhelm. Alcohol is barely noticeable.

Mouthfeel: mainly smooth with a light crispness and finishes dry. Medium bodied.

Drinkabilty: this does not overwhelm the tastebuds, and several of these can be quaffed in a session. Not great, but enjoyable and worth seeking out.

 620 characters

Photo of smakawhat
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass. Good till February 2012 we are off and running.

A real nice dark amber red and clear body, with a nice simple off tan caramel three finger head. Pin head sized bubbles, some fairly large in the head, with a small cap and some good retention. There might be some small haze in this, kind of dark to see.

Nice very mild chocolate sense from the malt, but fairly small nose. Not too much going on, but it's nice when taking a big whiff.

A very noticeable hop bitter, with a good mix in milk chocolatey malt sensations. Palate feels fairly hoppy but not so rich. Aftertaste brings some pine sense, and there's some definite prickly feelings. Not big on alcohol taste, but very stomach winter warmer boozy feeling.

Overall described as earthy, but doesn't feel like that so much to me. It is a real nice drink but definitely hop forward for this style. I think if you are a bit of a hop head and want to try and ESB this might be your perfect beer.

 995 characters

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours brilliantly clear, with no sediment at all (despite claims to the contrary on the label). The beer is topped by a frothy, initially three-finger thick, creamy-tan colored head. The aroma is nice and hoppy with a berry like hop note as well as a herbaceaus, sometimes grassy note to it. Behind this is a dry, biscuit-like malt character that at times smells like fresh from the oven bread crust. The hop character is definitely the dominant note in the aroma though.

Quite sweet, this really amplifies that berry note from the aroma. Flavors of sweet citrus are also found here. The beer is not quite as thick as the sweetness might suggest; it is certainly chewy, with lots of caramelized malt sugars. It seems to lean towards simpler malt sugars that are more directly sweet, but alot of the percieved sweetness could be an amplification of the fruity hop notes. There are some nice sharp notes here as well and these provide some balance to the hop fruit notes and the sweet malt. Green, herbal hop notes and a solid bitterness add notes of astringecy to the flavor profile that is quite nice.

A touch of hot alcohol is noticeable at times, but it is fairly hidden and seems to be brought out a bit by the sharp, herbal hop notes. This is quite an impressive hop focussed beer. I am really quite pleased by the quality of the two hop monster's I have had from this brewery.

 1,387 characters

Photo of Billolick
3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 ouncer sampled, label has area for freshness dating, but no matter how close I look, nothing has been notched/marked, oh well. This one pours a nice glowing orangy amber, white tiny bubble head/film and respectable lacing. Nose is a citrusy/resiny blend. Barely respectable DIPA. Ratings seem high to me, as this one is sort of mushy body wise. This is a decent IPA ,but Double? C'mon get real. Could be more firm and crisp to get a higher rating from me. Does have a nice hoppy finish (not the crunch to be expected from a top DIPA however) and lots of caramel malts. This is the best offering I can recall trying from Clipper City

 635 characters

Photo of BARFLYB
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5


Number five holds a burnt copperish brown color that's resembles a very dark lager. Just a bit of foam on the top of this off a tap. LAce does not cling well leaving a loose spider web design. Smells like a bigger version of a simple style. It's mainly sweet malty with caramel and some mild spicing. The hops give off a scent that's faint but not dead. This is pretty good stuff. Minimal holiday spices with just a sense of hop bitterness in the end. I really cant say that though cause the hops really don't come in at all. The feel is smooth going down with no sight of the alcohol and the carb seems muted, it works well, this is easy drinking. Medium bodied. This is nothing more than a lightly spiced simple beer with a great feel. Sometimes less is more.

 769 characters

Photo of ejimhof
4.15/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: nice head, dark brown color,slight lacing

Smell: hoppy, honey and malt smell

Taste: sweetness and slight hops

Mouthfeel: smooth and very English

Drinkability: This is like every other Heavy Seas Beer easy to drink and easy to drink more then one

 261 characters

Photo of Stinkypuss
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle dated best by April 09'.

A. Poured into a clean pint glass. Stunning amber with a soapy off white head that sticks around for some lace.

S. A malty and floral nose with just a hint of citrus. Strong bready and earthy notes fill the room.

T. Honey like malt sweetness paired with some brutal earthy pine/grapefruit hop. The malt needs to be very sweet to combat the hop onslaught and does a good job at that but could have used more character. Actually as it warms some roasted malt pulls through and is nice, watch the serving temp. on this one. Probably the most kick ass tasty ESB I've had.

M. Pretty decent overall mouthfeel, creamy yet abrasive to the palate. Smooth yet harsh. Lingering sweet hop on the tongue.

D. This is an extreme ESB and I like it alot.

 780 characters

Photo of Georgiabeer
3.7/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a reddish amber with a fairly thin head and spotty lacing.

Smells malty and a little sharp, with sweetness throughout.

Tastes malty and a little thin, but with a nice hop bitterness up front and a fruity pleasant sweetness on the finish.

Smooth, but a little thin.

Fairly drinkable, with a nice flavor, but nothing remarkable.

 344 characters

Photo of corby112
3.16/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark, slightly hazy golden amber/chestnut brown color with a thin fizzy yellow head that quickly fades. Not much in the way of lacing.

Bland aroma with some slightly roasted malt notes, subtle hops and sweet alcohol.

Nicely balanced medium body with some caramel malt and hazelnut countering a bitter earthy hop presence. The hop bitterness is pretty tame and not too overpowering but lasts throughout. The ABV is pretty well masked with only some slight alcohol warmth.

 480 characters

Photo of Zorro
4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 Oz bottle Sampled through the efforts of SS 05 BIF and Meathookjones.

A careful pour in to the glass reveals a dark for the style DIPA. Pours a clear copper red colored ale with no real head formation.

Smell is dark malt and strong hop aromas. Slightly sour smelling with mostly citrus aromas and a slight pine aroma. The alcohol fumes carry pepper and bitter orange scents.

Taste is sweet and mildly bitter at the beginning. This DIPA stays smooth through out the glass and never gets into the harshness zone. The hops get quite woody very fast here and make for a mellow and dry DIPA with a minimal grapefruit and pine flavor. Strongly herbal flavored ale.

Mouthfeel is good.

This very drinkable strong IPA, strong enough to numb your tongue this just doesn't taste that strong. This is in the same class as a dry English bitter in pleasantness to drink.

 874 characters

Photo of HopHead84
3.67/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5


A: Amber with good clarity. The head is a finger of slow moving beige foam. Thick sheets of lacing linger on the sides of the glass.

S: Rich malt character, redolent of bread and caramel, with pronounced dark fruit aromatics. Raisin blends with plum, prune, and date. There's a firm sugary sweetness and a touch of alcohol with earthy undertones.

T: Caramel and sweet bready malt with brown sugar and earthy notes. Light toastiness with pervasive prune, plum, and raisin. There's a low bitterness with a light alcohol presence. I get some lightly astringent dark fruit skin in the finish.

M: Upper medium body with lower medium carbonation. The mouthfeel is smooth and sticky with a little alcohol warming.

Overall: I guess it's not really an ESB but it's still a pretty good beer and better than expected.

 821 characters

Photo of biegaman
3.93/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Saved for the first snow storm of the year and while today's flurries didn't exactly constitute a 'Category 5' storm, they were enough to make for trecherous driving. I'm very happy to be home tonight after the snow and cold rain made my crossing the city a bit of a nightmare and my trip on the highway more of a skate than a drive.
Some head would persist, even off a very slow pour, although it fades quickly. A nice tawny sienna coloured body. Thin lacing.
Pleasant aroma, brimming with lightly fruity and bitter hops blended with a buttery, bready toffee undercoating. Mouthfeel comes across a little thin as the alcohol isn't outwright detectable, but certainly detracts from the casual quaffability of average bitters. Very little hop bitterness in the mouth, especially surprising considering the bitterness level led on in the aroma. Taste offers a piney, buttery malt, with some definte hop resin. Flavours stay fairly unassertive to the palatte - well blended and tasteful - just a tad unassertive. Too tasteful to be bland, but not quite enough of what I'd ask from anything bearing the moniker 'Imperial' in its name...
I should admit though, I do like the concept of an "Imperial ESB" for these cold, Canadian months and while it failed to really captivate me, it seemed to do the trick all the same...

 1,322 characters

Photo of John_M
4.08/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this on cask at Max's. IMO, this beer is much better on cask then it is in bottle or regular draft.

The beer pours an attractive copper color with very good head retention and outstanding lacing. The beer is very perfumy on the nose, reminding me more of an IPA then an imperial ESB. It's quite attractive actually. On the palate this beer is very nice indeed, and the cask conditioning really softens out some of the rough edges I don't care for in bottle/draft. Again, the beer tastes more like an IPA, but there is some nicie malt to counter the rather large amount of hops. The beer has a very nice soft, smooth mouthfeel, which must be from the cask conditioning. I find this beer to be quite rough in bottle/draft, but on cask this beer is so much more drinkable and enjoyable. The abv. is noticeable, but is not at all obtrusive, and the beer is actually pretty drinkable.

Very nice beer, at least on cask. Any other format and I wouldn't get it, but on cask this is a beer I quite appreciate and enjoy.

 1,016 characters

Photo of Wasatch
3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks goes out to shaebs99 and ThorsHammer for this brew.

Pours a nice clean/clear dark golden amber/orange color, nice carbonation, nice little fizzy tan head, which leaves some nice sticky lacing. The nose is malty, hoppy, slight citrus/pines, and lots of caramel. The taste is bitter, malty, hoppy, tones of citrus/pines, and caramel. The finish is bitter and dry. Medium body. Very drinkable, one of the best I've had from CC, recommended, Thanks Steve and Eric.

 468 characters

Photo of plaid75
4.2/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On draft at Canterbury Ales, Huntington, NY.

Poured a deep amber hue with a one finger foamy white head. There was good lacing and retention.

The smell featured an earthy grainy caramel malt with a touch of grassiness.

The taste featured a multiple tiered malt that started with an earhy sweetness and finished with a toasty buttery bread.

The mouthfeel was clean with a dry finish.

Overall a tasty and hearty winter delight.

 435 characters

Photo of jdhilt
3.46/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a three finger cream head that fades slowly to a thin layer leaving a good lace. Nice clear amber color. Mix of hops and malt nose. Good carbonation and medium bodied. Flavor is almost sweet caramel with the hops balancing. Better than an ESB - brewer calls this an imperial ESB which fits. $2.00 for a 12oz bottle from Tullys Beer & Wine Wells, Me. Best before Mar 2009.

 377 characters

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.25/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Served in an American pint glass)

A- This beer has a dark aged copper body that is crystal clear with a thick creamy head that is light tan but last and last , sticking to the sides when it settles. This beer has a gentle carbonation with no sign of yeast.

S- This beer has a deep green dark hops note with a fresh malt note with some light toasted qualities. The aroma is big with the hop blending nicely with the malt complexity.

T- This beer has a big hops flavor on the first few sips that dominate the flavor. Then the softer sweet pale malt and caramel malt flavors come through with a hint of dry toasted malt in the background. The hops flavors continues dominates the finish nicely.

M- This beer has a medium-full mouthfeel with a creamy texture and a faint alcohol presents that is not really a head but smoothes out the sweetness very nicely.

D- This beer has a big hops that overpower the malts a bit but both are big fresh flavors. This is a strong ESB and the best, and only, Imperial ESB, I have had.

 1,033 characters

Photo of Tone
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly hazy, rich amber color. 1/3 inch head of a pale tan color. Good retention and good lacing. Smells strongly of hops, then some sweet malt come through, there's some nutty and biscuit aromas as well. Fits the style of a Extra Special / Strong Bitter. Mouth feel is smooth and crisp with an average carbonation level. A noticeable dryness is present as well. Tastes of hops up front, then sweet malt, then the nut flavors and dryness are present, an interesting yeast flavor, a slight alcohol flavor come through in the middle, and the finish is again hops. Overall, not quite what I was expecting from an ESB, but surprisingly good.

 647 characters

Photo of ppoitras
4.38/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle obtained via trade with meathookjones. Thanks for the opportunity...

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a big pillowy 2" light beige head above the slightly cloudy, light copper brew. Laces excellently, with large chunks here, there, everywhere, and aroma is intense piney hops. Taste is initially malty, and the hops kick in, yet not as intensely as the nose led me to expect. As balanced as you'll see a DIPA, although the hops burps have already started. Mouthfeel and drinkability excellent for the style. Check it out if hops are your thing.

 569 characters

Photo of beerthulhu
3.82/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Imperial ESB.

A: Poured a dark amber with a thin off white head that quickly faded.

S: dark caramelized malting with a moderate hop bitterness and dry earthy aroma.

T: The flavor was very malty and warm roasted with a big sweetness coming from the grain bill. The palate was hearty with some dry caramel, biscuit bread and spicy alcohol fusels (dry cinnamon, nutmeg). Overall was a tad sweet and lacked the big bitterness per style but it did leave a decent lingering hop bitterness but not enough to balance out the sweet malt or justify it as an imperial.

M: lively and highly carbonated with a slight stickiness and creamy, smooth texture.

D: Overall a tad sweet for mulitiples along with the high ABV but was generally a good experience by itself and six pack worthy for future drinkings.

 802 characters

Photo of tone77
3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a deep caramel color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is dominated by hops, floral. Taste is well balanced hops and malts, a touch of alcohol is present, just a tad bit sweet. Feels full bodied in the mouth and overall is a quality beer.

 271 characters

Photo of cjgator3
3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle

A- Pours a copper color with an off-white head that leaves a good amount of lace.

S- There's a lot of malt in the aroma, along with some caramel and piney hops. I love hoppy Winter Ales, so this should be a treat.

T- The taste like the aroma benefits from a big malt backbone and a good amount of hop bitterness in the finish. Neither the hops nor the malt outshine each other in this one, it is very nicely balanced.

M- The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation.

D- Pretty solid drinker, the alcohol is definitely present but it drinks pretty well. Overall, Winter Storm is a pretty solid Winter Seasonal that I wouldn't mind revisiting.

 679 characters

Photo of Bitterbill
3.55/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I got this bottle in a trade with Wasatch. Thanks John!

It pours from 12oz bottle a slightly hazy medium gold/brown with a very small head of foam that left the scene quickly. Just a ring around the glass and some spotting left after about a minute.

The smell is about equal portions of sweet malt and citrus hops.

The taste on first sips gives me a very large caramel malt flavour and some alcohol. A few more sips in and the hops take their place with both grass and grapefruit and some earthy flavour is there as well. It has a medium mouthfeel and it finishes with a healthy dose of grass. A pretty good sipper here but I think the alcohol isn't as well hidden as in other brews of similar abv. Too much warming in the throat.

 733 characters

Heavy Seas - Winter Storm ("Category 5" Ale) from Heavy Seas Beer
86 out of 100 based on 504 ratings.